Tag Archives: The Heart of a Warrior

The Numbers Don’t Lie – Manhood Crisis

It should be no mystery to any of us that there are many in this world that have lost their way and are checked out of what’s going in their families. There are many men that have simply abandoned their families.  Think of the sheer number of households with single mom’s is staggering.  According to statistics in 2017, nearly 10 million households in US are single-mother homes.  Now lets couple that with the number of homes that have both mom and dad in the home, but all too often, dad is checked-out in one way or another.

What do we attribute this problem to?  Simply, we have a manhood crisis.  Men don’t know how to be men.  We have become so disoriented in so many ways because of agreements and lies have believed over the course of our lives.  Even largely within the church, men are present but by and large are not engaged in what is going on.  Maybe they serve in different capacities, but what are they doing to continue their growth with God and what are they doing to reach the lost and build up disciples?  For most, this is not a part of the picture.

51s-i80mvslI read a staggering statistic recently while studying The Heart of a Warrior by Michael Thompson.  Maybe this doesn’t surprise you, but it should get your attention.  Thompson shares that the typical US church is 61% male and 39% female.  On any given Sunday, 13 million more women than men attend church.  8% of churches have a men’s ministry.  In those that do, less than 10% of the men attend the men’s ministry.  I will add to this by suggesting that of that 10%, on average, less than 10% of those men are actually engaged in any real capacity.  This is from my own experience. What does this tell you?  Simply put, we have missed the mark big time when it comes to being men, and within the church, training up real men of are sold out followers of Christ, who step up to truly lead their home, has been missed big time.

I started writing something around Father’s Day regarding a fatherhood crisis.  But I never posted it.  What I feel like God has revealed to me since then, is that we have actually missed the hearts of most men.  Most men are lost in their own small stories, disoriented and posing their way through life.  They hide in their careers, put on the image of the good guy, or maybe they are checked out hiding in addictions or seeking out things that allow them to make life work on their own terms.  There’s so much that could be said here.  It’s amazing what passes for masculinity now.  Often times it’s a bad caricature of what the real thing should be.

41ebvat8gvl-_sy344_bo1204203200_So what do we do? As I’ve began counseling over the last couple of years, the Lord began to lay it on my hear to begin going after the hearts of men.  In early 2017, we hosted our first men’s weekend called The Anvil.  While a small encounter, it became apparent the need to continue going after men, not just in our local community, but beyond.  It’s a weekend that is modeled from the teachings of John Eldredge and largely from his book, Wild at Heart.  Next week, we hold our 4th weekend and the more we hold these, the more apparent God makes it, that we need to continue.

The whole point of holding these weekends is to give men a chance to step back from their world for a small period of time, just far enough to give them the chance to begin doing some introspective into their own lives.  It gives them a chance to pause and to reorient, and prayerfully gain enough insight from the Father of where they still need growth.  Every man needs more growth.

Our mission is not to compete with the church in any way, but to build of their men so they are equipped to go back and build up others in their community.  It’s all training.  Michael Thompson shared something else that is very convicting. He wrote that…

“Until the healing and training of men becomes the central mission of the church and not just one of many ministries it offers, men aren’t going to find what they need within its walls. Programs and service often land on a man like chores: he’s glad to do them (and needs to do them), but he won’t get Life from them. When sin plays on a man’s heart with guilt and shame, he will serve in the church out of a sense of obligation rather than freedom.”

There’s a reason that ministries like Ransomed Heart, Zoweh, The Noble Heart, and others exist.  Sad to say that the church, by and large has missed the mark, resulting in men that are present, but not present.  Men that are disoriented and lost.  We started launching Anvil, because it’s going to take more and more of us.  This isn’t about any one person, but about men learning to rise us and understand and recognize their real identity as sons of the Father and as men bearing God’s image.

So something is desperately needed.  There is a desperate need for men every where to realize who they truly are, get passed themselves, and learn lead as men should.  It begins with us men.  IT BEGINS WITH US.  We have to choose to risk changing.  We have to choose to stand up.

I don’t just pay lip service to this.  I have lived this out.  If you have followed this site over the passed few years, you will know that a significant transformation took place.  I used to be a man that stuck in my small story.  I hid in my work and behind my family.  I didn’t let people into my life.  When God transformed me, everything changed and it wasn’t just with me.  The change carried to my wife and continues to carry into our children as they are come alive in bigger ways. The impact God has allowed to happen simply because I was willing to trust Him and give Him my “Yes,” has been staggering.  It’s possible and it works.  I’ve seen it in other men as well, since then.

We have a choice to make, men.  Stay disoriented and in our small stories trying to figure out life on our own terms or give God your “Yes” and allow the real work to begin.  The choice is yours.  The road to life is difficult and narrow and only a few find and follow it, as Jesus said.  Will you choose follow it?

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Seeking More of God

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. Psalm 42:1.

There’s been a lot going on of late.  A lot of busyness, a lot of struggle, a lot of suffering.  A lot.  It seems that everywhere we turn, we have friends that are getting knocked down in one way or another.  At the end of last week, we hit a big challenge, as the transmission of my truck, which I depend on for quite a bit, decided that after 260K miles, it was done.  Not something I was prepared for at all.  Of course, the immediate reaction is anger and frustration.  “I need my truck. I can’t have my truck out of commission.”

After that initial frustration, a sense of clarity hit me, I can either be angry about it, stress out and let my joy fade away, or I can turn to the Lord and just seek His face through it all.  That’s been the exercise.  Seeking God, seeking His love, His guidance, and even His provision.  I know, that no matter the outcome with this truck, He will lead me through it, if I put my full trust in Him.

Through this, the struggle of others, and in things I’ve been reading and hearing, a great theme has been emerging.  In this year of growing deeper intimacy with God, He is showing me that what He desires is for us to seek more of Him.  More of God, which, as Michael Thompson writes, leads to more life and more freedom.

946400I’m processing through a book by Larry Crabb called, “66 Love Letters.”  Crabb provides an in depth and honest look at the 66 books of the Bible, wrestling with his own thoughts and questions about what each book is saying.  My church family is going through this book as a teaching series through the end of the year.  Very much recommend.

Anyway, I was processing this morning and something Crabb wrote while looking the the book of Joshua stuck out. He said, “Invite Christians to live for Jesus and imply that the Christian life is all about blessings, about entering a land filled with milk and honey with no real battles, and they’ll all come forward. Churches that never deal with the real fight that following My Son requires often grow large but mostly with small Christians.”  This made it obvious to me, which I already knew, that the life with Christ, on this side of eternity, is not all sunshine and roses.  It is a real battle, and we will continue to face challenge after challenge throughout out lives.

So in pondering that, I began to think about this life with God and what it means to seek after the more; to seek more of God.  Jesus says in John 10:10 that “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.” So many of us look at that quote and think that with Jesus we will have an abundant and easy life.  That things will get better and better and easier and easier.  If you’ve been truly walking with God for any amount of time, you will know that this is not the case at all.

Jesus is showing us something here.  That there is the hope of life that that comes from choosing to follow Him.  He knows very well, however, that until his return and the restoration of all things, that this life, on this side of eternity, will be filled with tragedy and heartache.  We’re not immune to it as Christians.  But in that, is the choice on how we will decide to live. We can either sulk in our misery and allow circumstances and difficulties to keep us in stable misery, or we can choose to seek more of God through it all and not allow the struggle to rob us of the hope and joy that comes from the life with God.

51s-i80mvslI firmly believe, that with each difficulty and trial we face, God is presenting a training opportunity to us.  An opportunity to train and grow and be sanctified to be more and more like Christ.  That’s what He is after.  Training us up to seek and receive the abundant life that comes only through Christ.  The abundant and free life on this side of eternity, is a life where we can rest in our identity as sons and daughters and of the King and believes firmly and has great joy in the hope and promises of God.

Michael Thompson wrote that, “Until the day when we finally see Jesus face-to-face, we follow Him heart-to-heart an, in the process, receive the training He provides.  Joining Him in seeing others’ glory reclaimed and restored.”  In essence we are still in training.  We are still being made whole and holy.

525724In Free to Live, John Eldredge writes, “We get to live His life – that is, live each day by the power of of His life within us. That’s the hope: you get to live that life. “But there is a reality of being in which all things are easy and plain,” wrote George MacDonald, “oneness, that is, with the Lord of life.” He makes us whole by making us holy. He makes us holy by making us whole.”

Seeking more of God is, in part, resting in the knowledge that, in this life we will have trials and struggles, but we have a great hope in Christ, so choosing to live and rest in that hope, enables us to not be tied up in the bonds that come from this world.  We can be free and as we are told, we can be “anxious for nothing.”

So my challenge today for myself and you is think about what it means to seek more of God.  Where in your life are not seeking Him more and where are you allowing temporal circumstances to have the say and rob you of your joy and hope.  That’s not the life God has for us.  There is a great hope and joy in Him and in the life to come.  What we see here is temporary and an opportunity to seek Him more.

Choose to seek more of God.